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We're Open: Instagram page inspires people in KC, across the world to help one another

Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 00:12:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While working from home, Julianne DeLassio scrolled through her Instagram to find something to smile at.

Past the posts of her friends, she discovered Covid19_messengers.

It’s an Instagram page featuring pictures of smiling faces from across the world and accompanying captions with messages like, “willing to help” and “I am able to run any errands you need.”

“I think a lot of people are feeling a lot of things right now," DeLassio said. "Anxiety, a lot of fear, and looking for ways to support in a time where the best thing to do is not go out around others."

DeLassio decided she wanted to help others too, so she signed up to become a ‘messenger.’

“I want to be supporting others and I do have a privilege in this time of having a job that allows me to work remotely, and being young and otherwise healthy and access to a car. And all of these things that make it easier for me to navigate this time than it would for someone else,” DeLassio said.

The Instagram page is the brainchild of Emmalyn Sullivan, who lives in New York.

Sullivan told 41 Action News in a FaceTime interview that the page started out as a simple idea.

“There is so much (going on) and it’s all bad. It really is just bad, so it’s really nice to have small little breaks,” Sullivan said. “We’re just doing a good, humane thing. It’s just people helping people at a time that is so horrible.”

The Instagram account started out with a couple of followers. As of Thursday night, the account had more than 2,700 followers in addition to dozens of volunteers, ready and willing to help strangers, from across the country and the globe.

To become a ‘messenger,’ Sullivan said send a message to the COVID19_messenger page. She will have you send a picture of yourself and a description of what you are willing and able to do to help others in need.

“I would love to keep using it as a source for disabled people and the elderly,” Sullivan said. “Just because now we need it really badly, I don’t want the thought of disabled and elderly people to die away.”